€37,000 less energy costs in medical technology
The term "sustainability" all too often turns into mere lip service. Not so at Wellspect. This world leader in manufacturing solutions for medical continence care has made sustainability an integral part of its corporate strategy and is committed to putting it into practice. No wonder the company’s plant in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden, relies on Festo Energy Saving Services which save Wellspect €37,000 a year in energy costs.
These energy savings correspond to 24 tons fewer CO2 emissions per year. A positive side effect of the lower energy consumption is that machine availability on one of the catheter packaging lines has increased by 10% thanks to reduced component wear.
Compressed air energy efficiency audit
"Bo Lilja, energy efficiency expert at Festo Sweden, used Festo's Compressed Air Energy Efficiency Audit to uncover weak points in our equipment and advise us on which improvement measures for our compressed air system were most likely to pay off," explains Erik Blomholt, Maintenance Engineer at Wellspect. Energy expert Lilja also made the measures available to Wellspect's maintenance team on the online Festo Energy Saving Services Portal. "This provided us with an easy and structured way to monitor the rectification of defects such as the elimination of leaks," says Blomholt. Last but not least, energy losses and CO2 emissions can then also be quantified.
The compressed air energy efficiency audit comprised five steps. In the first three steps, energy efficiency expert Bo Lilja analysed the compressed air generation, the compressed air preparation and the compressed air distribution of the overall system. He then turned his attention to the pneumatic applications, i.e. the machines and systems themselves, and analysed their energy efficiency and located leaks. "I checked whether drives, valves and tubing are optimally sized, whether blowing and vacuum applications are efficiently designed and whether installation and control concepts should be optimised," says Lilja. In the fifth and final step, the specialist developed a concept for a compressed air monitoring system that can be used to permanently monitor the energy states.
At the end of this analysis, Wellspect received a detailed report with precise documentation of the data and priority-weighted recommendations for improvement. The documentation shows, among other things, energy consumption and costs, performance reserves and CO2 emission values, which Wellspect required for disclosure in its own sustainability report in accordance with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) or GHG (Greenhouse Gas).
The implementation of the energy efficiency audit is part of Wellspect's sustainability strategy. The three most important topics are: good health and wellbeing by enabling more people to live fulfilling and independent lives thanks to bladder and bowel management solutions, a safe, committed and inspiring workplace and a reduced environmental footprint.
Contribution to sustainability goals
Wellspect’s vision is to become carbon neutral by 2045. Right now, the company’s manufacturing sites rely solely on electricity generated from renewable energy sources. The Festo Energy Saving Services should point the way to further savings. The savings of €37,000 per year on energy and equipment costs are just for three production lines, and another two lines have already been identified for further potential savings. "Since our goal is to optimise the energy consumption of all production lines, we will gradually roll out the energy efficiency audits to all our plants," says Chief Maintenance Engineer Blomholt.
This will help the company to continually reduce the annual kilowatt hours needed to produce each catheter. By 2025, Wellspect hopes to have reduced the energy consumption for producing each catheter by 12% compared to 2020. Given the large volume of catheters produced weekly, the ultimate cost savings could be quite substantial.
Predictive energy with artificial intelligence and machine learning
Monitoring the energy efficiency of a machine or system and taking action if the energy-consumption deviates from the target values are tasks that are perfectly managed by the Festo Automation Experience (Festo AX), and it could be the right tool for greater energy efficiency at Wellspect. It is an easy-to-use solution with which users can achieve maximum added value from their machine and system data thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Festo AX Predictive Energy records a "fingerprint" of the energy consumed by the production line and continuously compares this with the actual status. Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, leaks can be detected automatically. And there is no need to describe and teach in all the possible sources of errors beforehand. Being able to eliminate any detected leaks at an early stage reduces production costs and ensures the solution pays for itself quickly.
Based in Mölndal near Gothenburg, Sweden, Wellspect has over 1,000 employees with operations in 18 countries and is part of Dentsply Sirona, the world's largest manufacturer of professional dental solutions. The company develops and produces solutions for people who suffer from bladder or bowel dysfunction. Product users include individuals with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida or an enlarged prostate. Best-known product lines are Lofric for bladder management and Navina for bowel management. A holistic education programme for both patients and health care professionals flanks the high-quality product solutions.
Festo is a global player and an independent family-owned company with headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. Festo has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 35 industries. The LifeTech sector with medical technology and laboratory automation is becoming increasingly important. The products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 20,800 employees in over 250 branch offices in around 60 countries worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €3.81 billion in 2022. Each year around 7% of this turnover is invested in research and development. In this learning company, 1.5 % of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Festo Didactic SE is a leading provider of technical education and training and offers its customers worldwide comprehensive digital and physical learning solutions in the industrial environment.